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Res Philosophica


published on August 13, 2015

P. J. E. Kail

Religion and Its Natural History

This paper discusses the role of Hume’s “Natural History of Religion” (NHR) in his campaign against the rational acceptability of religious belief by discussing and rebutting some objections have been lodged to my previous presentations of my reading of the NHR. In earlier work I argued that the causal account of religious belief offered therein, if accepted as the best account, rationally destabilizes that belief. By this, I mean that acknowledging that the account is the best of the belief provides a reason to suspend the belief unless and until some further epistemic justification is given for that belief. As such, the account leaves those who think that the belief can be given some epistemic justification unmoved, but has a particular force against the fideist who holds that justification is not required. In this paper I show in more detail than in previous work its relevance to a particular form of fideism, and rebut objections to my reading offered by Jennifer Marušic.

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